State AG Asks For More Funding, Support For DNA Testing
Posted April 10, 2003 5:39 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — If you are raped in North Carolina and you do not know who did it, the state will not test DNA evidence from the crime because there are not enough DNA analysts at the State Bureau of Investigation crime lab. In honor of sexual assault awareness month, the state attorney general held a rally Wednesday to get support for more funding for DNA testing.
More than 20,000 rape kits are sitting on shelves all across in North Carolina waiting be tested. Rape victim Rebecca Dorman is lobbying lawmakers to make DNA testing a priority in the budget.
"This is unacceptable. Something must change," she said. "It definitely surpasses all political boundaries, all human boundaries. This is something that's innately important to everybody."
State Attorney General Roy Cooper is backing new legislation. One bill would increase the number of DNA analysts at the SBI lab. Another would increase the number of criminals required to submit samples to the statewide DNA database.
"There are criminals out there who can be stopped with DNA technology," Cooper said.
At the Raleigh Police Department, there are more than 900 rape kits sitting on the shelves in the evidence room waiting to be tested, but the reality is if there is no known suspect, the state will not look at the rape kit.
"I'm honest with my victims. I tell them right now without a suspect, the lab cannot test and collect DNA," said Detective Terry Frattini, of the Raleigh Police Department.
Few people are more frustrated by the crisis than police.
"Let us get these guys off the street before they have the opportunity to strike again," said Raleigh Police Chief Jane Perlov.
Investigators use the database to match samples and see if the suspects have committed multiple crimes. So far, officials say there seems to be a lot of bipartisan support for increasing funding.